Friday, 18 March 2016

Ta Da! Knitted Pull-Through Scarf

Hooray! It's a 'Ta-Da' post...finally!

Just before Christmas last year, I attended a Pompom making class led by Hollie (Flora Fairweather) and put on by The Mamahood.* I was so inspired by Hollie's use of colours and pompoms on everything I wanted to get making something myself.
This little pull-through scarf is easy to make and it knits up quickly (especially if you use a chunky yarn.) The design is perfect for little ones as it's less bulky around the neck than a traditional scarf, and the fun pom-poms also stop it from coming undone.

I sort of just winged it when it came to a pattern but I knitted up another scarf so I could check what I had done and write it down. If you want to make a pull-through scarf yourself then you can follow this pattern, but please feel free to adjust it where necessary. I have given the tension and needle size I used but obviously, this can be knitted with any yarn and needle size. This scarf is perfect for my little Miss who is 18 months old, but you will probably want to make the scarf longer for older children.

Yarn: I used Wool & the Gang cotton yarn for the bright yellow scarf, and the blue scarf is Debbie Bliss Cashmerino.

Tension: 10cm x 10cm 28 stitches x 44 rows

Needles: 4mm

Cast on 1 stitch (1)
Inc 1 (2)
Inc 1 on both stitches (4)
*Inc 1 first stitch, knit to the end of the row, leaving last stitch, Inc 1 on last stitch*
Repeat ** until you have 28 stitches
Knit 28 rows (or more if you want a longer bit to pull through)

Now you will start to make the holes to poke the scarf through. You will need some stitch holders (they look like giant safety pins).

*K2, P2, K2, P2* (8 stitches of rib)
Put rest of stitches onto a stitch holder (16)
Repeat ** for 15 rows
Put 8 stitches onto another stitch holder

Take the middle 8 stitches onto your needle, leaving 8 stitches behind on the holder.
Knit for 15 rows
Add these 8 stitches to the 8 ribbed stitches on the holder

Take the last 8 stitches onto your needle
*K2, P2, K2, P2* (8 stitches of rib)
Repeat for 15 rows

Now you want all your stitches on your needle but add them from the first ribbed section you knitted so that you have your yarn thread at the point of your needle, ready to start the next row.

Knit for 104 rows (or however long you want your scarf. Take a measurement around the neck as it should be close-fitting)

*K2, P2* Repeat until the end of the row (28 stitches)
Repeat ribbing for 34 rows

Knit 28 rows (or however many you knitted at the other end)

*K2tog, K until you have 2 stitches left, K2tog*
Repeat ** until you have 1 stitch left
Cast off and leave a long tail.

Make 2 pompoms using a pompom maker and whatever bright colours you fancy and attach to the two pointed ends of the scarf using the long tails for extra security. (These need to be fastened tightly as they will get pulled quite a bit.)

And there you have it! If you are able to follow this 'pattern' and make your own pull-through scarf then please share a photo with me - I would love to see it! I am This is Wiss on all social media, or leave a picture in the comments below.

Happy knitting!

*I urge you to check out The Mamahood - such a wonderful supportive community run by Diana. She runs inspiring, creative and collaborative local events for mamas. Currently only in SE London but the Mamahood will be expanding so keep an eye out for events in your area.

Also, check out Flora Fairweather's IG feed for bright and beautiful images, and lots of pompoms!

Tuesday, 23 February 2016

Sunshine on a Rainy Day

The weather in London yesterday was grim - wet, grey, wet, chilly and wet. But they say there's no such thing as bad weather, just the wrong clothing. So I cheered myself up by window(s) shopping and putting together this super cute (and very practical) wish list...

The first thing you need on drizzly days is a good mac. For little Miss I picked out this fab Neon Candy Pink Showerproof Coat - it's a great colour and would look lovely with contrasting bright accessories. Wiss is a little harder to please at the moment as he's decided he doesn't like coats ("I can't run fast in them...") Even though it's been so cold it's all I can do to persuade him to wear a body warmer, but this Shark Waterproof Pack Away Jacket would be ideal to take out with us. Small enough to fold away in a pocket and thin enough to not interfere with his speed!

While I was looking, I couldn't help but notice these other gorgeous items from Joules. I normally don't choose to dress little Miss in much pink, but I love it as a pop of colour especially with navy or grey. This Pink Cat Jersey Top is really fun, and the coordinating Grey Marl Cat Trousers look really comfy. And I couldn't resist the Bunny and Chick socks; with Easter round the corner these would make a lovely chocolate-free gift idea.

These two jumpers caught my eye for Wiss: the Grey/Orange Marl Crew Neck Sweatshirt has a waffle texture which means it will be hard wearing and warm (especially if you don't like coats!) and the Slub Jersey Hooded Sweatshirt is lightweight enough to go over other layers and not slow anyone down!

Check out the Right As Rain collection from Joules for loads of stylish and practical clothing for all the family (I'm eyeing up the gorgeous Seaford Mac for myself.) Bright colours mean those inevitable grey, wet days wont seem quite so bad!

*this is a collaborative post with Joules

Thursday, 11 February 2016

Me & Mine - A Family Portrait Project 2015 - Wrapping Up

Unfortunately, what with one thing and another last year I never got round to finishing off my Me & Mine 2015 project. Me & Mine was started by Dear Beautiful and it's very simple - one family photo each month of one year. I love this idea so much and it's a great way to make sure that you all feature (as usually there is one person who is always behind the camera) and together the photos build into a great visual diary of the year.

I also had a disaster this weekend - I dropped my iphone down the loo! I have a replacement phone but there has been a problem with restoring the back up and so I have lost everything since last July. Heartbreaking! But fortunately, I had already emailed myself the remaining Me & Mine photos for this post. Very lucky, otherwise all these would have been lost too. So, without further ado (and before anything else happens) I present to you the last half of 2015...

August - Ferne's 1st Birthday! I also took the kids to France for a mini-break this month and we celebrated my parents-in-law's 40th wedding anniversary. Plus i returned to work at the start of this month after a year's maternity leave.

September - Back to school! And trying to get back in to a routine of work too.

October - always a busy month for us with two birthdays (my *cough* 40th this year!!) and our wedding anniversary, as well as Halloween. Our outfits were outstanding this year! Little Miss took her first steps this month :)

November - We spent far too much time at the Lego store in Westfield trying to make the Tobin family from minifigs. What do you think of the resemblance?!

December - Christmas of course. We hosted Christmas at ours this year, and loved it! It was so lovely having our families over and being together...but doing it our way and not having to pack up and leave at the end of it all. The way forward...?!

The Me & Mine project is back again for 2016, and even though January is over it's not too late to join in. Head on over to the site using the link below and have a look at all the other blogger's photos and add your own. (I've lost my January photo due to phone/loo incident but I'm definitely going to be there with February's picture.)

dear beautiful

Friday, 5 February 2016

Hello! It's Me. I was wondering if after all this time you'd like to catch up?!

Hey! Apologies to Adele for stealing (& altering) her line but it seemed pretty appropriate as I haven't posted for ages. I can't believe it's been so long actually - as I'm sure most of you can relate to, life seemed to take over last year and there just wasn't any time for blogging. Or anything else much.

I know I don't need to explain, and I'm also aware that this post won't fit naturally into my blog profile of 'making stuff, making memories' but I feel like I should get it all out before I can start posting again. About fun stuff, and crafting, and kids. Which is next up on my agenda!

So...what happened last year? Apart from me still struggling to get my head around life with two kids - one super bright little boy with bags of energy, and one baby who refused to sleep, ever! I started to get aches and pains, and twinges in my joints at the start of the year. They were fleeting - coming on in the evening, bad during the night and gone in the morning - and coming a couple of times a month. I saw my Dr and an osteopath who both thought I was in good shape but perhaps breastfeeding a heavy baby and loose-ligaments were to blame. Nothing serious.

In August I got bitten by something in our local park - a small black fly I think but I couldn't be sure. Anyway, my ankle swelled up like an elephants. I couldn't walk, it was excruciating and I couldn't take enough painkillers to even touch the pain. I had antibiotics and after a week or so things calmed down a little and I could walk again. I rested, was given some mild steroids and all the pains stopped. Hooray!

Four weeks later I was at my running club and I got bitten again! Exactly the same over-reaction - hugely swollen, intense pain, not able to walk on it. The pains started up again in my joints but this time I noticed that my right foot was numb, and my left foot was tingly. I was given more antibiotics for the bite and a blood test was organised by my Dr.

The results came back with nothing particularly remarkable, although my rheumatoid count was one point higher than 'normal'. Fortunately, my GP was fastidious enough to recommend I see a rheumatologist - just in case. This Dr ran a whole range of blood tests, including for Lymes disease. Everything came back normal, however, there was a huge amount of ANCA positive antibodies in my blood, showing that my body was fighting something. It turns out it was fighting itself!

After a few more months of terrible pains in my joints, general lethargy and not being able to do very much at all, plus lots more tests, including a Sural Nerve biopsy, I was diagnosed with Vasculitis. A chronic auto-immune disease where the body attacks it's own blood vessels. A google search turned up some pretty scary information (I know, you're not meant to google, but we all do, right?!) but the good news for me was that I had been diagnosed really early on. Many people suffer for years and it is hard to diagnose as the symptoms are so (seemingly) random. By which time their bodies have suffered irreversible damage, often to major organs such as the lungs, kidneys and eyes. (There has been no organ involvement for me, apart from in the nerves in my feet.)

As you can imagine, this was a lot to take in. And the 'treatment' proposed was very serious too - 3 days of high dose intravenous steroids, followed by 8 weeks of more steroids in tablet form as well as a 3 month course of fortnightly chemotherapy (apparently it is used to treat many things, not just cancer.) And all this was a few days before Christmas. I didn't really have much of a decision to make though - I needed treatment, I needed to get better. And blimey! the first lot of steroids were like rocket fuel! I felt great, I had so much energy and I wasn't in any pain. I decorated the front room in two evenings :)

I'm now halfway through my treatment and I'm still feeling really good. The things I was really worried about haven't happened - I haven't lost any hair, my moods have remained even (in fact, I've felt like my old self and realised how little patience I'd had with the children when I was unwell), and I haven't swelled up (yet?) I have got a fuller face at the moment though (a common side effect of Prednisolone is a 'moon face') and my front teeth have become so sensitive I can't drink anything slightly cold without a straw. I do have to take a large cocktail of tablets every morning - most of them are drugs to protect me from the damaging effects of the steroids and the chemotherapy. But I have not had any pain since before Christmas! Fingers crossed that the second half of treatment goes well too.

If you follow me on Instagram (@thisiswiss) you'll have seen that I'm still running. This has been so important to me and thankfully my Dr's have totally understood and supported me. I need to run because I don't want to be beaten by this. I need to run because it makes me feel good, and that I am in control of my body. I need to run to get some headspace each week! But I realise that I need to listen to my body and rest too. This is a bit of a new concept for me, but I'm even enjoying this at the moment. I've started knitting again, I've been dreaming up new blog posts, and I've been going to bed earlier. It may be my age too, but it's lovely to get in bed before 10.30pm!

So that's me at the moment. I wasn't sure how this year was going to start, as we were all so worried about the diagnosis and the treatment but actually we are all feeling pretty positive right now. This is Wiss the business took a bit of back seat last year, as well as the blog as I just didn't have the energy to do anything, let alone sew, but now I'm hoping to do big things in 2016. this space!

Now if you've made it to the end of this mammoth post, I thank you for your time :) And I hope that you'll be back soon for some fun posts involving more crafting and less illness!